Two buildings, two names, two schools of thought, and a 71-year-old seat of learning under siege.
Arya Parishad Vidyalaya (APV), a Higher Secondary school in Namak Mahal, of the port area, is jostling for space with Modern Arya Parishad Vidyalaya (MAPV), set up on the same premises in 1994. Though MAPV is yet to get recognition from any board, it has around 1,200 students in classes I to X.
“We have written to the chief minister, police commissioner and the school education department. But no action has been taken against the unauthorised occupants of the building,” O.P.L. Srivastava, headmaster, Arya Parishad, told Metro.
Modern Arya Parishad is run by Ram Pyare Ram, MLA from Kabitirtha.
The local Congress leader is not only occupying a part of the school, recognised by the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education, he has also set up a party office on the premises. “A political party office on the ground floor is damaging the academic environment and students are the worst sufferers,” added Srivastava.
When contacted, Partha Dey, school education minister, said: “I am not aware of any such complaints. We will surely look into the matter.”
APV was set up in 1935 on Calcutta Port Trust land and was maintained by it till 1991. The school building was set up with a Rs 10-lakh Port Trust grant. As local MLA, Ram had joined the fund collection drive. But soon after the three-storeyed building was completed in 1994, Ram started a primary school in the eastern wing, that was later converted into a high school imparting education in Urdu, English, Hindi and Bengali.
“I spent a lot of my own money in the construction. I took the Port Trust’s permission to run the school in the interest of the poor children in the area,” explained Ram.
The fees at MAPV range from Rs 150 to Rs 250 per month, while students at APV, a Hindi-medium school, pay a monthly tuition fee of Rs 16.
There is also an allegation of MAPV students getting false certificates as APV students. The matter came to light after the employment exchange tipped off police about an APV school certificate submitted by a girl student. It was found she was actually from MAPV. APV is an all-boy’s school. A complaint was lodged with South Port police station and the school education department alerted.
“We have learnt that might rules over law,” rued headmaster Srivastava.